The actors in A Street in Palermo (Via Castellana Bandiera) give such natural performances, you'll think you're watching a documentary tonight at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
I have been assured it is not. Some family fishermen pile into a car driven by the near-mute, white-haired mother-in-law of the patriarch. Just before they reach their home along narrow and dusty Via Castellana Bandiera, they are stopped by a lesbian couple's car moving in the opposite direction.
What follows is the stand-off to end all stand-offs as both drivers--who, ironically, never wanted to be in their vehicles for their respective trips in the first place--are too stubborn to back up and let the other pass.
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Pretty soon everyone on Via Castellana Bandiera gets involved, and we get a glimpse of life in that part of Sicily. It's a fascinating, very slow burn, but I pity the distributor trying to market Emma Dante's odd little picture. (2:45 p.m. Fashion Island Cinemas)